Despite shooting a dismal 32 percent from the field through three quarters, remarkably the Springfield Armor still had a chance to win the game, tied at 70 going into the fourth quarter against the Erie BayHawks.
In the fourth quarter, the eight turnovers and 3-for-19 shooting, cost the Armor a chance to sweep the two-game home stand as Erie (7-10) won 95-84 (box score) Saturday night at the MassMutual Center.
“We missed a couple of shots and we lost our focus,” said head coach Bob MacKinnon. “At halftime we had four turnovers and then we had 12 in the second half. From a veteran team, that shouldn’t happen.”
“Once we missed a couple of shots, we started pressing and we turned the ball over.”
Springfield (8-8) shot the ball poorly all night, but made up for it in other areas.
The Armor had more scoring opportunities, taking 14 more shots than Erie, thanks in large part to 20 offensive rebounds.
Defensively Springfield forced 15 Erie turnovers through three quarters.
But in the fourth quarter the momentum quickly began to turn.
Erie opened the quarter with six straight points, while the Armor continued to struggle, missing the first six shots of the quarter.
Springfield also had several turnovers resulting in Erie fast break points. Nine of the BayHawk’s 18 points in transition came in the fourth.
“This game was winnable if we took care of the basketball and we didn’t,” said MacKinnon. “That’s the disappointing thing because we lost our focus in the fourth quarter.”
Several times in the fourth Springfield cut the deficit to three, but each time Erie would answer.
With 6:50 remaining, JamesOn Curry nailed a 3-pointer to cut Erie’s lead to three at 78-75, but Erie’s Devin Green responded with back-to-back layups giving the BayHawks some insurance.
After a Jeff Foote putback with 4:36 remaining again cut the lead to three at 82-79. But once again Erie responded six straight points.
“They fought hard through the first three quarters and they just executed a little bit better in the fourth,” said Armor guard Jerry Smith, who had a game-high 26 points to go along with 10 rebounds.
Curry had 17 points, grabbed nine rebounds, and dished out seven assists, while Foote finished with a double-double of 18 points and 12 boards.
Erie was led by former NBA veteran Mike James, who had 17 points, five rebounds, and three assists in his D-League debut. Big man Chris Daniels had 14 points and a game-high 18 rebounds, after only coming away with one on Thursday night.
Both these teams head to Reno for the D-League Showcase, which takes place Jan. 9-12.
Notes: Springfield’s first game at the D-League Showcase is against the Los Angeles D-Fenders. That game will be Jan. 9 3:45 p.m. and can be seen on NBATV…Last year Armor guard L.D. Williams won the Slam Dunk Contest at the D-League Showcase…Springfield’s next home game will be against the Maine Red Claws on Jan. 14. It will be the first time the Armor takes on the Red Claws since former NBA vet Ricky Davis joined Maine.